Good morning. England is taking a significant step out of lockdown today, but as our overnight story explains, the government is urging people to be cautious, and to stick to the rules. We will be hearing from Boris Johnson later at a press conference.
People in England are now allowed to meet up in groups of six, or in two households, outdoors. But meetings of this type will not be allowed indoors until 17 May at the earliest and, in a sign of how worried the government is about people bending the rules, the Department of Health and Social Care is launching a publicity campaign to explain outdoors is so much safer. “‘Hands, Face, Space” has become “Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air.” An advert making this point will start being shown tonight and the DHSC quotes Prof Catherine Noakes from Leeds University, who advised on the film, as saying:
An infected person releases particles into the air by coughing, talking or simply breathing.
The closer you are to people, the greater the risk of breathing in infected particles. When we are outdoors, the risk of infection is significantly lower as fresh air disperses and blows Covid-19 particles away, and we have more space to social distance from each other.
When outdoors, stick to groups of 6, or 2 households. Keep a safe distance and meet outside, because you’re much safer in fresh air.
Here is the government’s guide to what’s allowed in England.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: The ONS publishes reports on vaccination rates by socio-demographic characteristics including ethnicity, and on Covid and extremely vulnerable groups.
11am: Nicola Sturgeon gives a speech to the online SNP conference.
12pm: Downing Street is due to hold its daily lobby briefing.
5pm: Boris Johnson holds a press conference at 9 Downing Street in the government’s new media suite.
Politics Live has been mostly about Covid for the last year and I will be covering UK coronavirus developments today, as well as non-coronavirus Westminster politics. For global coronavirus news, do read our global live blog.
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